The 1976 Rocky Movie in Light of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Sylvester Stallone
I believe that actor Sylvester Stallone is more like the Paulie character from the Rocky movies in real life than like the Rocky Balboa character he actually played in the Rocky movies, which I will explain as this post progresses.
I really wasn’t that familiar with the Rocky movies growing up, so I revisited them not that long ago.
I just saw the 1976 Rocky movie a few weeks ago on cable television, in addition to all the Rocky sequels, and, as I am older now, I was able to more fully appreciate what the original movie was about, the themes and the relationships.
I felt that the Rocky and Adrian characters were wonderful.
Rocky may not be very intelligent, but he seems fundamentally kind, decent, and honest, which won me over.
Rocky Balboa doesn’t seem to be the type of guy who’d sexually abuse his half-sister, sexually exploit a teen fan, tell a girlfriend who he believes to be pregnant with his baby that he’ll offer her a lot of money to abort the baby, habitually ignore his children, and doesn’t seem to be the sort of guy who’d cheat on his wife.
And yet, in real life, it looks like Stallone has done those very things (and see my previous post about the Stallone sexual abuse accusations for more links):
- Sylvester Stallone Accused of Sexually Assaulting 16-Year-Old Fan, Forcing Her Into a Threesome in 1986
- Sylvester Stallone accused 30 years ago of allegedly having group sex with teen, police say.
- Did Sylvester Stallone molest his half-sister?
- Sylvester Stallone hush money leaves unanswered questions
- 16-Year-Old Fan Accused Sylvester Stallone of Forcing Her Into Threesome
- How Sylvester Stallone was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old fan
- Stripper Margie Carr Sues Stallone for Assault
- Sexual assault charges against Sylvester Stallone (by Margie Carr)
- Sage Stallone Death: Edd Filiti, Sylvester Stallone’s Nephew, Criticizes Actor For Neglecting Son
- Sylvester Stallone: the wacky people’s champ who battled his own ego
(I have a running list of sexual assault allegations against Sylvester Stallone in this post on this blog under the “New Allegations” section of the post)
I like the fact that the Rocky character is a person of conviction – he may have started out as a reluctant enforcer for the mafia, true – but he’s basically a humble, decent guy.
I’m not seeing much evidence of Stallone having similar, well-grounded morals in his private life. He is quite the opposite, unfortunately.
Here’s an except from The New Yorker by an author who comments on the stark differences between the Rocky character and Stallone in real life:
Stallone himself, in interviews, comes off about as generous and self-aware as you could possibly ask a Hollywood megastar to be, which is still quite a far cry from Rocky’s saintliness.
Over the decades, he’s [Stallone has] indulged in all the predictable conspicuous consumptions, including human-growth hormone and testosterone. Three marriages, the latter two to models.
A career checkered by several take-the-money-and-run flops lamentable enough that he must keep a quiver of self-deprecating jokes at the ready, should one of them be mentioned.
I offer evidence of decadence not to damn him but merely to note that, living in an atmosphere of perpetual temptation, he has been vulnerable to it. Throughout, he has maintained in his imagination a place where he can scrub away any such blemishes on his soul, leaving only the simple, heroic Balboa.
What that list leaves out, of course, is more damning allegations, as I cite on this page, the accusations, that in the 1980s, Stallone pressured a teen girl into performing sex acts on himself and a bodyguard, and in the early 2000s, an attempted rape of a woman in a gym office, and that from 1979 for several years, the repeated abuse and rapes of his real-life sister.
This page, posted in 1997, is now even more ironic or sad to read:
SLY’S GOT IT TOGETHER AFTER SOME ROCKY TIMES -via the New York Daily News
by George Rush, June 1997
Sylvester Stallone celebrates his birthday next week. After 51 years, he thinks he’s finally grown up. His personal life, he has to say, “is perfect.
He’s grateful that his daughter, Sophia Rose, who came close to death earlier this year, will turn 1 in August.
He’s also grateful that her mother, Jennifer Flavin, rumored to have another child on the way, was willing to marry him last month.
Three years ago, he dumped Flavin via express mail.
She then had to watch him bounce from older model Janice Dickinson, who twice claimed he impregnated her, to younger model Angie Everhart, whom he instantly asked to marry him.
Not to mention a few other ladies he partied with along with way. The actor now sees that period as “something I had to go through.
“I wish I’d had more maturity,” Stallone told us the other night. “Maybe I had the inability to recognize how other people perceived me. It was an arrogance. “You say to yourself, `Yeah, it’s a scandal, but the audience will forgive me. There’ll be no residual effect.
“That’s where a lot of celebrities “make a big mistake,” Stallone said. Take Eddie Murphy, the man who operates a free taxi service for drag queens. “If you get involved in a scandal like that, it doesn’t matter what you do” to restore your public image, said Sly. “At any one time, 50% of the people will believe [the worst]. Anyone who was on the fence `Do I like him? Do I not like him?’ they’re gone.”
Stallone says this holds true “especially for actors like John (Travolta), Arnold (Schwarzenegger), Bruce (Willis), myself. When you’re tied in with film characters who have an outstanding nobility, that freedom to be bacchanalian in your private life, it’s gone. You can’t be a libertine. You are a slave to your character’s image.
Here’s the thing with me: I wanted to like Stallone in real life. I did not walk into this series of posts already disliking the guy.
I started researching Stallone a few weeks ago in preparation to write a fair, even-handed review of the Rocky movie franchise, because I really enjoyed the Rocky movies when I saw them a few weeks ago.
I did not go into any of this originally to criticize Stallone.
Along the way, though, doing research on the Rocky movies, I not only found out about the sex abuse allegations, but other negative things about Stallone.
Regarding the last few lines by Stallone, above, from the New York Daily News article – being associated with a fictional character or no, everyone should aspire to live a decent life.
Stallone seems to be saying in that interview that the only thing preventing him from being a disgusting hedonist in real life is that he’s known by the public for playing the compassionate, moral, and kind-hearted Rocky Balboa in movies.
However, having played the Balboa character for a 40 year period did not stop Stallone from terribly misbehaving in real life anyway, as I, again remind you, have discussed in this last post.
I really didn’t want to “believe the worst” about Stallone. I’d really like these negative stories to be false, but I believe them to be true.
After actor Chris O’Dowd disappointed me with his crummy real-life antics (I had really enjoyed his nice cop character in the ‘Bridesmaids’ movie, but no more can stomach that movie, no thanks to O’Dowd – even though O’Dowd is no where near as perverted in real life as is Stallone), I was on the search for a new, uplifting film.
When I saw ‘Rocky’ on cable a few weeks ago, I thought maybe this could be it – any time I’m feeling down, this can be the movie I toss into my DVD player.
But now, after reading what I’ve read –
- the strange family Stallone comes from in real life,
- the multiple marriages (in one case, the divorce was driven from his infidelities),
- apparent emotional neglect of his two sons,
- the allegations of attempted or actual rape by different women,
- the enormous ego,
- and now, thinking of him marketing one of his Rocky movies on an appearance of the Christian program ‘The 700 Club‘ a few years ago, which now really comes across as a hypocritical marketing gimmick to entice evangelicals into theaters (exploiting spirituality to make a buck, to push a product),
– makes me sick.
I’m afraid I can no longer watch any of the Rocky movies knowing what I know now about the guy.
I don’t expect perfection from any one, celebrity or not, but I do expect at least a consistent base-line of decent, honorable, moral behavior.
How Stallone could create and play such a fundamentally honorable and decent character such as Rocky and not live up to it at all in real life is very baffling, sad, and disappointing.
I looked more into the Rocky movies and Stallone hoping – as I did with actor O’Dowd – that he’s just as kind and nice as this character he played in a movie, but that’s not the case. He’s not.
CHILLING AND DISTURBING ROCKY STORYLINES AND SCENES IN LIGHT OF STALLONE ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
Now that I know what I know about Stallone I am now disturbed by a few of the things I remember seeing in the 1976 “Rocky” movie, and which I will review here.
In that film, Stallone plays Rocky Balboa, who is around 30 years old, living in a run-down area of Philadelphia.
Balboa is working as an enforcer for a low-level mafia loan shark, but he is shown in some scenes as clearly being reluctant to physically harm the dead-beets he’s ordered to collect from.
In his spare time, Balboa also enters fights as a boxer around local fight clubs, and he also develops a crush on the sweet and shy, thirty year old Adrian Pennino, who works in a pet shop.
Pennino seems to have little to no sexual experience – the film suggests she’s a virgin.
Rocky eventually gets Adrian to go on a date with him. Rocky and Adrian end up going to a skating rink on the date, and he later convinces her to head on up to his apartment.
Even before I heard about these sex abuse allegations against Stallone, I still found a few scenes from the Rocky movie a little disturbing…
And now that I know that in real life Stallone allegedly has a penchant for sexually preying upon little girls ages 13 to 17, one scene in Rocky in particular really makes me sick now. (More on that in a few moments.)
THE ROCKY CHARACTER, OR HIS LIFE, BASED IN PART ON STALLONE’S REAL LIFE
Many reviews I’ve seen have said that Stallone based some, or much of, Rocky’s career trajectory on his own real-life career issues, and some of his personal ones.
Bearing all that in mind…
THE APARTMENT SCENE
In the scene where Adrian goes into Rocky’s apartment on their first date (view most of the scene on You Tube), she is clearly uncomfortable being there, she says she’s “never been in a man’s apartment alone,” and she comes across as being very uneasy to be alone with Rocky in his apartment.
Adrian tells Rocky repeatedly she doesn’t feel right about being there and would like to leave.
Rocky at first tries to talk to her and calm her down, telling her he’s feeling a little uncomfortable as well.
As Adrian heads to the door to leave, the Rocky character effectively pins Adrian against the apartment wall, with one of his arms on the door – so she cannot open it to leave – and the other arm is on her other side, preventing her from walking away in that direction.
That is one detail that made me uneasy.
As depicted in the movie, and certainly the rest of the Rocky series, we do learn that Rocky sincerely cares about Adrian.
However, in that date scene, where Rocky is prohibiting Adrian from leaving when she obviously wants to, as she says she wishes to do, he is not respecting her boundaries – which is very controlling, creepy, and one hallmark of an abuser.
You can watch a gender reversal of that very same scene here (two actors re-staged the scene, so that Adrian is played by a young man and Rocky is played by a young lady):
Speaking of the Rocky character pinning Adrian to the wall in his apartment, compare that to this real life news report about Stallone:
Via E! News (link):
In a suit filed last week in Santa Monica Superior Court, Margie Carr claims the 54-year-old actor [Sylvester Stallone] attacked her last February at the Santa Monica Bodybuilding Center, “forcibly pinned” her against a wall and tore her clothes off.
ROCKY WALKING MARIE HOME SCENE
This scene. Even the first time I saw this scene (prior to hearing of the sex abuse allegations against Stallone), something about this scene felt a little icky to me.
In the scene, Rocky finds Marie, who appears to be about 13 years old, smoking and hanging out with a bunch of boys at night on the corner.
Rocky confronts her, tells her to leave the street corner, and walks her home.
Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with a grown, 30 year old man walking a 13 year old girl home, presumably for safety’s sake so she doesn’t get mugged or kidnapped, but the conversation Rocky has with this girl along the way is something else.
Rocky tells Marie if she keeps hanging with the crowd she’s running with, she’s likely to become or be known as a “whore” (the very word he uses several times over in the scene).
In real life, not only is Stallone accused of having sexually exploited a 16 year old teen-aged girl in 1986, but Stallone’s real-life half-sister, Toni-Ann Filiti often claimed, before her death from cancer in 2012, that starting in 1979, when she was 15 years old, that Stallone began regularly attacking her and raping her.
Further, in my last post, a woman now claims that when she was 13 years old that Stallone sexually propositioned her when she was at a beach where Stallone was participating in a Vanity Fair magazine photo shoot.
(I refer you to this post that has links to news items on all those allegations.)
I surmised in my last post:
Based on this information [that Stallone has frequently allegedly targeted females aged 13 – 16 / 17 for sexual exploitation], I’d guess Stallone either is a ephebophile (preferred age range of victims: 15 – 16), or he may be a hebephile (preferred age range of victims: 11 – 14).
Source: Pedophiles, Hebephiles and Ephebophiles, Oh My: Erotic Age Orientation
So, in real life, Stallone is known (allegedly) for sexually abusing girls ages 13 – 17.
Which is, I am sad and disgusted to point out, around the very same age range as Marie, who appears to have been around age 12 or 13 when that scene from the 1976 Rocky movie was made.
(If Stallone ever acted inappropriately around that actress when she was a kid during the filming of 1976’s Rocky, I hope she steps forward in the media to call him out on it.)
The “walking Marie home” scene is the very scene where Stallone, as Rocky, man-splains what being lady-like vs. being a whore is all about – to a girl.
This was never a comfortable scene to start with, but now, it’s ten times ickier to endure.
One wonders, since Stallone based some of the beliefs of, or story-lines in, Rocky on his own, if he really does hold this out-dated and sexist “Good Girl Vs. Whore” stereotype in real life-
Where he believes “Good Girls” should and will receive respect from good men, but not “Whores,” that “Whores” will remain single or treated disrespectfully by men?
But then, in real life, Stallone was allegedly sexually preying upon innocent, naive girls who had little to no sexual experience at all, such as…
His real-life sister, Toni-Ann Filiti (who says his abuse of her began when she was only 15 years old), the 16 year old teen in the Las Vegas hotel room, and the woman who says Stallone propositioned her in 1985, when she was only 13 years old.
I don’t know if Stallone enjoys sullying a virginal girl’s sexual innocence and gets off on that, if he gets a rush controlling and having power over girls sexually, or if he enjoys sexually humiliating girls and women, or what, exactly, his demented motive is.
Based on what I’ve seen in the accounts in the news of the sexual abuse accusations against Stallone, he most definitely has some back-wards, freaky-deaky, sexist, perverted opinions about girls, women, and wrong assumptions about female sexuality, and what he thinks men can and should be permitted to get away with sexually.
Stallone also seems to feel (based on comments I’ve seen him make in various interviews) that a girl only really becomes feminine or a woman if or when she expresses her sexuality by actually having sex.
And that is a huge falsehood.
An adult is an adult is an adult – having sex does not make a person an adult.
A girl having sex does not make her more feminine, nor does it make her an adult, or make her more “womanly.”
A person does not have to actually engage in sex acts to be sexual or be mature or be an adult.
The same all holds true for boys as well: a boy does not have to have sex with a girl or woman (or with another boy or a man) to be sexual, have sexuality, to be masculine, and so on.
ROCKY’S RELUCTANCE TO BEAT PEOPLE UP FOR THE LOAN SHARK
The first Rocky movie makes it a point to let us know that Rocky, even though he works as an enforcer, is a kind-hearted man by nature and is reluctant to beat people up or break their thumbs when they cannot pay the mafia loan shark guy back.
Here is a scene on You Tube which establishes that:
In contrast to that, consider this real life news article:
by Doug Poppa
According to a draft of a Verified Complaint that was to be filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1987, Toni Ann Filiti was requesting a trial by jury and asking for damages in excess of $25 million.
The statement, dated June 29, 1987 reads in part:
…In that regard, upon information and belief, defendant [Sylvester Stallone] has employed bodyguards and others to injure people at defendant’s [Sylvester Stallone’s] instructions.
Moreover, defendant [Sylvester Stallone], himself, has inflicted grievous bodily harm on others without justification and out of sheer malice.
According to that complaint by Toni Ann Filiti, Stallone sometimes beat people up himself, or ordered his bodyguards to do so, just for the hell of it.
Which is the total opposite of Rocky in the movies.
The only time Rocky ever really got violent with people was in the boxing ring, because that was part of his career.
But Rocky didn’t go around picking fights with other people or breaking their fingers for the fun of it, or to exert power over them, or just for kicks and giggles.
STALLONE IS PAULIE
In the Rocky movies, Paulie is Adrian’s older, alcoholic brother.
Adrian, who is around 30 years old, lives with her brother Paulie (until she later becomes Rocky’s roommate).
Through out the movie, we see Paulie verbally abuse Adrian, and he seems to threaten her in some other scenes that suggest that he may physically abuse her, too.
Paulie consistently verbally abuses Adrian, and we, the audience get the idea it’s been on-going abuse, that for years, Paulie has been telling Adrian she is a loser, and making her feel as though she is a loser, by a steady drumbeat of insults and put-downs.
You can watch one such scene here on You Tube:
Yes, that scene was in Rocky, which was released in 1976.
According to Toni Ann Filiti, Stallone would begin sexually, physically, and verbally abusing her beginning in 1979, when she turned 15 years old, and she said this abuse went on for approximately the next eight years.
You have Stallone allegedly abusing his real-life kid sister Toni-Ann Filiti, but in the movie, he sort of protects and defends the kid sister (Adrian) who is being regularly abused by her older brother (Paulie).
This makes Stallone more like Paulie in real life than it does the Rocky character in real life.
ACTRESS TALIA SHIRE, WHO PLAYED ADRIAN, LOOKS LIKE STALLONE’S REAL LIFE SISTER
As I noted in an earlier post, the actress who plays Adrian in the Rocky movies, Talia Shire (view photo of Shire here), resembles Stallone’s real-life sister Toni-Ann Filiti (view photo of Filiti here), who Stallone was allegedly molesting and raping in real life over a period of several years.
I have to wonder why a guy who was allegedly raping his real-life sister, for at least an eight year period, would turn around and make sure an actress who resembles that sister plays his wife in the movies? The mind boggles.
All kinds of Freudian, disturbing things going on with Stallone, and now, in hindsight, with the Rocky movies as well.
Starting about two years after playing a guy, Rocky, who defends an abused sister from her abusive big brother Paulie, Stallone (allegedly) turns around and starts abusing his own real life kid sister, Toni Ann. It is so sick and deranged.
I don’t know what the deal is. Did Stallone create the Rocky character to mask his real life failings?
Did Stallone endeavor to make a character who acts on the screen the way he wishes he could, or should, behave in real life?
By the way, it all comes down to choice.
There is, or was, absolutely nothing stopping Stallone from being a decent human being in real life.
Stallone could have, in fact, behaved just as kindly and decently in real life as the fictional Rocky character did in the movies.
In the “Rocky Balboa” movie, released in 2006, Stallone, as Rocky, gives this inspirational speech to his son, Robert Jr. telling his son to take personal responsibility for his own behavior, outlook, and choice in his own life.
(You can view that “Rocky Balboa” scene here on You Tube.)
Well, why didn’t Stallone take this advice himself in his real life?
What was preventing Stallone from treating his real life kid sister Toni Ann Filiti with the same sort of affection and protection that the Rocky character provided for Adrian in the movies (though Adrian, was, of course, a wife, not a sister, to Rocky)?
Nothing but his own choices, that’s what.
It looks to me as though Stallone treated his real life kid sister Toni Ann Filiti in the same poor, disrespectful, abusive manner that Paulie did to Adrian, only Paulie’s movie behavior is not nearly as repugnant as Stallone’s.
After all, I never got the vibe from the movies that Paulie ever sexually abused his own sister, for God’s sake.
Could anyone, could any sane, decent, normal person stomach a scene in the first Rocky movie that parallels what Stallone allegedly did to that teen girl in 1986, or to his real-life sister, if we had to watch the Rocky character do the following to the Adrian character in a movie:
- maneuver Adrian to a bed, get her undressed,
- stick his penis in her,
- tell her “you’re really tight,”
- ask her if she’s ever had sex with two men at once,
- then yell for some male friend hiding in his bathroom, “Would you like a blow job”
- then proceed to watch as the friend has vaginal intercourse with Adrian
- -doing that as Rocky places his penis in Adrian’s mouth,
- then ask Adrian if she’s ever “seen a man come,”
- then go over in the corner to masturbate and ejaculate in front of her,
- then tell Adrian, while laughing, if she ever tells anyone what happened, he will “beat her face in”
-there is not a sane, decent person on the planet who would want to watch that perverse, sick, garbage.
Had that content been in the Rocky movie, I would’ve immediately started puking and detested the Rocky character.
There is no sane, decent person who would’ve respected the Rocky character had such a perverted scene been in a movie, showing him degrade Adrian, or any woman, like that.
But there you have it, Stallone allegedly did those very things to a kid fan in the 1980s and similar or worse to his real-life sister.
From the 2016 Guardian article about Stallone:
In 1980, he [Stallone] claimed to have been beheaded during the French Revolution (“Whenever I see a guillotine, I get a strange sense of serenity”) and to have also been an animal (“Maybe a wolf”) in a past life.
There were reports of three-inch lifts in his running shoes and regular injections of sheep cells to preserve his youth.
His arrogance and profligacy were starkly at odds with the naive, humble character with which he had established himself.
I’ll say. That author is spot on.
I am once more without an inspirational movie to watch.
I am very sorry for any and all girls and women Stallone hurt in his personal life.
With all good conscience, I don’t think I can sit through any future viewings of the Rocky movies knowing that the entire thing is a farce-
Knowing that Stallone is not even remotely like the basically decent person the Rocky character is, nor does he even try to be that type of person.
He doesn’t even try.
For the love of God, it’s not that difficult to follow very basic, compassionate, simple morals in life, such as,
“Do Not Sexually Humiliate Girls and Women”
“Do Not Sexually Exploit Teens”
“Do Not Verbally or Physically Abuse Your Sibling,”
“Do Not Rape Your Own Sibling (or anyone else)”
Lots of people manage to follow such basic principles over the span over their lifetimes with no problems.
It wouldn’t even dawn on most of us to even THINK about raping a sibling or take sexual advantage of a kid.
Those types of principles are part of “Morality 101.”
It doesn’t take an advanced degree or strong fortitude to not rape someone else.
What is Stallone’s problem?
What went on in his family of origin that caused him to get the idea, to think for even a moment, that it’s acceptable behavior to do incredibly evil, reprehensible, and debased things, such as, beat up, intimidate, and rape little girls?
Was he just born socio-pathic, or what is it?
Did the third wife, Flavin, know any of this and marry him in spite of it? If so, why in God’s name?
As the Rocky character, Stallone delivers speeches in movies that he doesn’t even try to live up to in real life.
Stallone plays a man, Rocky, who loves, cherishes, and respects a woman over the duration of her life, but in real life seems to treat girls and women like disposable pieces of garbage.
It’s all very sad. I had really liked the Rocky movies before discovering all these negative things about Stallone in news reports.
I cannot watch the Rocky movies any more, knowing what I know now. The movies cannot be viewed in the same way.
Links to other posts in this Stallone series: